Kosher Pizza and Diner Brisket

Sephardic traditions reign at the splashy chain Rosa Mexicano, where you can inaugurate a Passover meal with haroset sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. Photograph by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Considering all the rules associated with Passover, it’s harder than ever for modern families to observe this ancient ritual and eat well. Harder—but not impossible. This year, the offerings for the seven-day celebration of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt—which lasts from sundown April 19 through April 26—are wider than ever.

With its emphasis on wine, it’s no surprise that Dino (3435 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-686-2966) is planning a five-course BYOH—“bring your own Haggadah”—Passover menu plus a Seder plate and Italian wine pairings that banish all memory of Manischewitz. Note to the waitstaff, who last year committed the ultimate Passover faux pas: Leave the bread in the kitchen.

Up the street, owner Jeffrey Gildenhorn will host his family’s Seder at American City Diner (5532 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-244-1949); you can reserve one of the private rooms for a brisket dinner with gefilte fish, chopped liver, and matzo-ball soup. The fried matzo brei—topped, diner style, with chopped onions—will be available throughout the week.

Alan Popovsky spent years sharing Passover traditions with fellow DC transplants at Felix Restaurant & Lounge in Adams Morgan. Felix has been sold, but Popovsky’s latest venture, Hudson Restaurant & Lounge (2030 M St., NW; 202-872-8700), finds him again providing matzo-stuffed roast chicken, wine-braised brisket, and free Haggadahs to Passover orphans on the first and second nights.


At Bebo Trattoria (2250-B Crystal Dr., Arlington; 703-412-5077), chef Roberto Donna will reprise his five-year-old tradition of cobbling together Passover-week meals from the kosher recipes of his Jewish-Italian customers. The highlight: a kosher pasta that uses matzo flour and is baked before it’s cooked.

Tragara (4935 Cordell Ave., Bethesda; 301-951-4935) might smack of a formal banquet hall, down to the chandeliers and tuxedoed waiters, but no area restaurant offers Passover diners a broader menu: a choice of seven appetizers, seven entrées, and six desserts for all eight nights.

Rosa Mexicano (575 Seventh St., NW; 202-783-5522), an upscale Margaritaville, transforms itself during Passover with an intriguing Sephardic meal (pomegranate-glazed lamb shank, tsimmes-stuffed relleno) that ropes in even nonobservant gastronomes.

Okay, so it’s not the original Tommy Marcos Ledo. But James Robertson’s Ledo Pizza locations in Bethesda (5245 River Rd., 301-656-5336; 10301 Westlake Dr., 301-469-6700) and Rockville (10058 Darnestown Rd.; 301-424-2700) offer a pizza for those who can’t do without for seven days and eight nights. Robertson says the pizzas sell like hotcakes, though the dough plays fast and loose with the concept of kosher—it’s made without yeast, but there’s still flour.

Don’t want to spend all day at the stove? Here are places you can pick up a rib-sticking Passover meal on the way home:

Koshermart, 4860 Boiling Brook Pkwy., Rockville; 301-468-0400.

Morty’s Restaurant & Delicatessen, 4620 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-686-1989.

Wagshal’s, 4855 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-363-5698.

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